I had to shoot an annual meeting for a women’s group the other day. The client wasn’t asking for anything special, just some images to put on a newsletter, in a website or wherever they could find space. So I took the requisite pairings and crowd shots but then later concentrated on the very pretty country club setting where the event was being held. But after I captured some nice architectural shots, I was faced with a room full of people starting to sit down to eat. I didn’t think anything that I shot during this time would be useful, so I decided to just shoot whatever I wanted. The attendees were still glad-handing so I took some surreptitious shots with my 105mm macro. But instead of the usual portrait arrangement of having the subject look across the frame while they sit pretty on the 3rds lines, I decided to use as much of the width of the frame as possible. I would place an individual on the extreme ends of the image with a background of pure bokeh behind them. The women had become used to me and so were not aware I was shooting them individually. So I was getting some fantastic facial expressions, the kind you see when high-brow people are gossiping. The results were amazing. Getting a raised eyebrow, a fed-up guffaw or an overly amused woman presented alone on a blank background was so much fun. Each face was like a sculpture. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had discovered something new by intentionally breaking the rules that exist to ensure the ability to publish the photos I take. It’s almost as if not caring about their “publishability” allowed me to see in a way I hadn’t looked in a while. I’ve done this recently with some of the editing I’ve done to building exteriors I never thought would see the light of day. And the result is that yesterday, my boss said she was going to print up one of those building images and present it to the president of the hospital as a gift.
I guess ignoring the consequences is sometimes the best way to evolve as creative creatures.